Although Jeannette never uses the word "neglect” her parent’s actions affect her in every part of her story. This neglect is so damaging that it extends to abuse. Jeannette’s mother refused to give her children any kind of structure. She refused to make them proper meals or guide them through many of the issues of childhood. Jeannette’s father moves his family at a moment’s notice. He taught Jeannette how to swim by throwing her in a lake. Her father, Rex, refused to keep a job and the family lived in abject poverty.